11.29.2010

I Want! - Mercury Glass

I am head over heels for mercury glass right now.  It is so versatile that you could get some now to glam up your Christmas decor and when the holidays are over keep it out to add some vintage pretty to your space.  These are a few of my favorites I've stumbled across.

West Elm Animal Ornaments : Martha Stewart Vase : NapaStyle Votives :
Pottery Barn Lamps : Wisteria Finial Urn : Etsy Christmas Trees


If you are up for a diy project, here are a few links on how to make your own mercury glass whatever.  They are all a little different but give the same effect, pretty much.  I'm planning on trying the water and spray paint method on a few random vases that are cluttering up my laundry room.

So do y'all have any mercury glass in your decor?  If not, do you want some?

11.24.2010

I'm Thankful For...

On this day before Thanksgiving, I would like to share with you what I am most thankful for.

The usual stuff
  • my family because they rock
  • my friends because they rock harder
  • my house because it is awesome and I will never leave it
  • my husband having a wonderful job and my savings account so that I can stay home with my baby every day

The UNusual stuff
  • cheese dip
  • my husbands sweatshirts, he has none because I steel them all
  • Nick Jr.
  • central heat and air
  • my pool
  • McDonald's french fries
  • fountain coke
  • sweet tea
  • Project Runway
  • House Beautiful & Real Simple
  • my bed, I hate to leave it every morning
I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day!  I'm really looking forward to watching the parade with Claire.
Until later, Andrea out.

11.23.2010

Turkey Day Feast

The first year Chris and I were married we had Thanksgiving at our house.  I think it is a right of passage for newlyweds to host a big event for family.  An opportunity to prove themselves to their parents.  Unfortunately, I set the sweet potatoes on fire and that was the last time I hosted Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow we will be heading to my in-laws for turkey day and I wanted to share the recipes that I will be bringing to the party.

First up, cheesy squash casserole courtesy Paula Deen's Uncle Bubba.  I make this all the time and it is nothing short of complete cheese and squash awesomeness.  It is super easy to make and is even good reheated, which is a must for Thanksgiving dinner because you know there will be leftovers.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine (recommended: Ritz)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the squash, onion, and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, Cheddar, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.



And for dessert, caramel apple dip.  This is to die for!  I mean you can't go wrong with caramel and cream cheese.  I make brownies to go with it in addition to the apples and I am not ashamed to say that I have also been known to lick the bowl.  This to is super easy to make which earns it bonus points in my book.

Ingredients

  • 16 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, or in the microwave, melt caramels with water, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in caramel mixture. Serve immediately.

So what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?  Any traditions that you and your family enjoy?

11.19.2010

Makin' a List (or two)

Because we all need a little organization when it comes to holiday shopping,


these cuties are available to print here from Atypical Type A.  I have already printed mine but is anyone surprised?

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  The hubs and I are going to see Harry Potter tonight.  Yippee!  We got a babysitter and everything so it's kind of a  big deal.

~Andrea

ps - I found this little slice of organizational heaven via How About Orange.

Floor Plan Friday - Hillstone Cottage

1448 sq ft, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths


This house is completely adorable.  It looks like an old stone cottage that you would find hidden in the woods.  Efficient and multifunctional spaces are a must for small homes.  I had high hopes but this one fell a little short, stupid architects.




Things I can live with
  • The kitchen.  It's a nice size and the layout is workable.
  • The upstairs.  It would be an entire guest suite.

Things I would change
  • I would reconfigure the downstairs bathrooms and have just one bath accessible from the main living area and from the master bedroom
  • I would make the front bedroom a little bigger so that it is more of a true master
  • The back bedroom I would use as something other than a bedroom and I would probably try to move the washer and dryer into that room as well
  • While there is the potential for tons of storage, the usable closet space is not that great.  I would have less and make them bigger

With a few modifications this house could work if you were a couple with no kids or at most one kid and they could have the upstairs.  What do you think?

Happy Friday to All!
~ Andrea

11.18.2010

It's Finally Here!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 comes out tomorrow!  I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!!  I loaded a little preview of parts 1 and 2 for your enjoyment.



Do you have chill bumps because I did.  And even though I will have to watch it in the worst theater in America I know it will be awesome and totally worth it. So are any of you as excited as I am?

~Andrea

ps - Did anyone else watch the Dateline special on William & Kate last night?  I have to say they are really cute together and I wish she was my friend because that would be so cool.

11.17.2010

Words of Wisdom

As everyone is getting ready for the holidays and Black Friday looms in front of us, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes with you.
"Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
While you mull this little nugget over, remember that Christmas is not about how much stuff you get or how much you spend but the people you celebrate with.





On a separate note...

It's official.  My childhood sweetheart is engaged.  I'm okay with it.  She seems like a nice girl and he and I never would have really worked out.  She got his mother's engagement ring, which I adore, and wears it well.  I wish them the best of luck and can't wait to see the wedding.  It will be fabulous!
 
via People

Random Facts about Me & Prince William
  • I am exactly 7 days older than him
  • He is the reason I had aspirations of being 5'9" when I was younger
  • Unlike his fiance, I did have pictures of him on my wall as a teenager

11.15.2010

Fun is my Middle Name

Not really, it's Elizabeth, but when it comes to crazy fun colors I use my fair share.  I find that I am constantly drawn to bright vibrant colors, mainly aqua blue, lime green and pink.  I know, your shocked, right?  While I can't see myself using them in large quantities, I do like to throw some fun in here and there to add interest to my otherwise calm space.

Dining Room

Notice the pinks, blues and greens in the artwork.  Everything else in the room is very subtle.  The artwork grabs your attention because the colors are so vibrant.

Laundry Room

 
This is a little piece that I've had and painted pink to go in my laundry room.  It serves as a charging station for cell phones and a drop off point for all of the junk that comes out of my husband's pockets.  The acid green knobs I found at Hobby Lobby and I'm still looking for something to go on the drawer.  Do you like the wallpaper?  Here's a close-up...

I love this paper in so many ways I can't even name them all.  Most importantly it makes my laundry room bright and cheerful.  Just what I need while doing 8 loads of laundry a week.


Patio

This past spring I decided to spray paint my black iron patio furniture to make it more fun and less formal.  Surprise, surprise, I chose blue.  I added yellow cushions for an extra pop and I still want to add a loose pillow to each chair (navy or pink, I haven't decided).



For some reason aqua blues speak to me.  I use other colors to mix it up but that one color seems to be at the core of everything in my house.  It makes me happy to look at it everyday.  How about you?  What colors are you drawn to and how do you incorporate it into your home?

I'm Better Than I Thought

A few weeks ago, I read Lauren's Warm Brown post over at Pure Style Home.  In it she talks about how warm, natural browns are making a come back, especially in wood pieces.  For the longest time, the trend was to have extremely dark wood or to have everything painted.  However, if you look at any design magazine you can see that stains with orange and red undertones are quickly gaining popularity.  As I was reading, all I could think was that I already knew this.  I've been using warm woods in my designs for a while.  Not only in my own house but for clients as well.  Stained wood adds personality and a lived in look to any space.  The secret is that you have to mix wood tones with painted pieces, you don't want everything to match.

my dining room


my master bedroom

It didn't dawn on me until this weekend, when I read Maria's post on What's Next in Color & Design in 2011 over at Color Me Happy, that I might actually be on the cutting edge of trends.  Maria talks about color forecasting for the coming year and reveals that greeny gray and blue gray, among others, are the next "it" colors in design.  Well, yea for me because my kitchen cabinets are already a greeny gray and I've had plans to paint my bedroom a blue gray for about a year.

Sherwin Williams - Grassland


Benjamin Moore - Alaskan Husky


I don't mean to toot my own horn but it just makes me excited to see things that I've already been doing becoming the hot new trends to follow.  I'm still relatively new to the field of design and it is reassuring to see that I'm on the right track.  If I'm ahead of the trends then I must be doing something right.

11.12.2010

Floor Plan Friday

It's no secret that I am obsessed with floor plans.  I have looked at hundreds with dreams of one day using one of them to build my dream house.  I doubt that will ever happen but I can still look, window shopping if you will.  I've decided to start a new little series and share with you one of my favorites every Friday.

First up is from Southern Living and is called Turtle Lake Cottage

1871sf with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bath.


    

Things I love!
  • Combined kitchen/dining but still separate from the living room
  • Screened porch (a must when living in the south)
  • No tub in the master bath
  • Jack and Jill bath upstairs
  • side entry through the laundry room (so convenient for bringing in groceries & dirty children)
Things I would change
  • I use to have a whole list but the more I look at it the more I like it the way it is.
This is a no nonsense house and is made to be lived in thoroughly.  It is super practical and functional but at the same time adorable.  I can see all of my stuff fitting in perfectly.  Now all I need is land and money.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!  Chris is going to Auburn with his BFF to see the Georgia v. Auburn game (go dawgs!) so Claire and I will be bach'n it this weekend.

Happy Friday!
~Andrea

11.10.2010

Fabulous Find

I made a mental note to watch the Nate show this morning because Michelle Adams from Lonny Mag was going to be on.  Good thing she was up first because Claire only let me watch the first 8 minutes before insisting that I color with her and watch cartoons.

Anywho, she was showing must haves for under $50 and mentioned an art site that I was not familiar with.  I love original art!  It's so much more personal than stuff you order from a catalog or pick up at TJ Maxx.  The site was 20x200 and, after checking it out for myself, it is awesome!  You can pick your price, $20 for an 8x10, $50 for a 11x14 and so on, and get some one of a kind stuff to hang on your walls.

These are just a few that I liked...










Yeah, this last one I don't think I would use anywhere but it reminded me of my cousin and made me laugh.

All of the prints are limited edition so once they are gone, that's it.  Fortunately, new pieces are added all the time.  So if you are in the market for yourself or maybe want some inspiration for xmas gifts this year, go check it out. 

~ Andrea

11.09.2010

Horror Movie Weird

The entire house was quiet and everyone was asleep when suddenly, at 12:30 am, Gus (our 25lb mini schnauzer) decided to start barking for no good reason.  We were frantically throwing things at him and cursing him for trying to wake up Claire until we heard it.  Someone was knocking on our carport door.  Chris gets his gun (a hunting rifle) from the closet and goes to the door.

Well, it's the cops.  They said they had a open 911 call and gps tracked it to our house.  This is creepy because we don't have a land line.  It's been disconnected for the last month.  Also, neither of our cell phones have ever dialed 911.

So, I'm laying back in bed trying to fall asleep and my paranoid mind starts running.  What if there is a crazy killer on the loose and he is hiding in one of our closets calling 911 like a mean joke.  Or, someone is dead in our backyard and their last act was to hit send on their cell phone hoping that someone would find them.  I ruled both of these out because we have dogs that bark and they would tell us if anything like that had happened.

I thought it was a fluke but then this morning there are more cops knocking on my door.  The officer said that they had a hang up call and wanted to make sure everything was okay.  I told him about it happening earlier and he told me to call the phone company.  So helpful.

So, unless anyone can give me a better explanation, I'm going with a penguin in the closet.


I'll keep you posted.

~Andrea


UPDATE!
Turns out the phone calls were being placed by a security company that gave the police our address as the location of the home.  Our house doesn't have a security system so I know that there was no mistake on my part.  The company was notified and hopefully they will fix the problem.  My guess is that someone made a data entry error and they are just now figuring it out.  I hope nothing bad happened to the people who's house the police were suppose to go to.

11.05.2010

Kitchen Redo: from Fugly to Awesome

When we bought our house last year it was obvious that the kitchen was in desperate need of an update.  The previous owners had renovated the rest of the house but stopped with the kitchen.  I don't blame them, kitchens are expensive, but I couldn't live with it.  It made my heart sad.



Does it make you want to cry?  Needless to say, we went to work renovating almost immediately.  We replaced the appliances a week after we moved in and the rest followed over the next two months.  It's been just over a year and I am still in love with my kitchen.  Despite its appearance, I do cook and there are usually dishes in the sink and stuff on the counters.  We also eat at the table almost every night so it's not just for looks.










Now that it finally looks finished, I find that it is really easy to keep the kitchen clean because I want it to look pretty all the time.  This seems to be the consensus with most people who have a designer work with them.  Once they know how to make it look nice they like to keep it that way.

Cabinets: Sherwin Williams - Grassland SW6163
Walls: Benjamin Moore - Monterey White HC-27
Countertops: Cambria quartz
I made the window treatments, chair cushions and the basket chandelier.

11.04.2010

Design Inspiration

I tore these pictures out of Coastal Living way back in March and immediately put them on my fridge.  Designer Jill Johnson has created the exact feel that I want for my house.  I love the lightness and the fabulous mix of colors.  It's beautiful but comfortable and looks like real people live there.  While I had already finished remodeling my kitchen by the time I found this, I think it still has a similar feel so it should be no problem to use these to inspire the furnishings in my living room.

Photographer Grey Crawford via Coastal Living

Photographer Grey Crawford via Coastal Living

Just to clarify, I use pictures to inspire not to copy.  Having an image keeps you focused on the exact look and feel that you are trying to create.  When you are a designer working on your own home, focus is always a problem.  You love everything you see so much you want all of it.  Also, every space is different so, while you can recreate the feel, using the same furnishings and fabrics is more difficult because you still have to design for the space you are in.

What do you think?  Awesome or lame?

11.03.2010

Gallery Walls for "Dummies"

Step 1:  Select a central image
I found this at Urban Outfitters and fell in love with it. 



Step 2:  Add secondary pieces on either side 
On the left, I have an 11x14 print that I bought from an artist at a local fair.  I balanced it on the right with a smaller shadow box, which contains a linen napkin that belonged to my great great grandmother, and some random plates.


Step 3: Keep adding stuff
I picked up the crown at Hobby Lobby and, while they are trendy right now, it holds a personal significance for me so I know that I will never get tired of it.  The little gold frames I got at Goodwill and have plans to change the pictures (I'm just not sure what I want yet).  The white frames are from Ikea and they hold pictures that I have taken.


Step 4:  Move things around
After living with the above picture for a few weeks, there were some things that kept bugging me.  First, I needed to balance the circles of the plates.  I have an oval frame that I want to add but it works better on the right side so the plates got moved to the left.  Second, I didn't like how symmetrical the left side looked compared to the right.  I fixed it by moving the gold frames further apart and adding another Ikea frame to the mix.


Keep in mind that there are still a few things I want to add.  Including one (or two) of the awesome animal prints I posted about here.  I have an oval frame that it will live in and is destined to be placed at the bottom of the right side.  The good thing is that I still have so much wall space that I can keep adding to this for a while.

Here are a few extra tips, from yours truly, on how to create this look for yourself.
  • Limit the color pallet of your frames
  • Use odd numbers
  • Use different sizes
  • Don't be afraid to keep moving things around

Now, go, create and send me pictures!


Today's 5k Time - 35:03

11.02.2010

Gallery Walls

Gallery style walls are super hot right now.  I think it is in response to all the years of perfectly symmetrical, matching art that looks so formal in comparison.  "Casual elegance" is a big trend right now and gallery walls are a perfect complement.

via Pure Style Home

Why are they so fabulous?  I'm glad you asked.
  • they give an eclectic and casual feel to a space
  • they allow you to use art, snapshots and objects to create a completely personal arrangement
  • makes a huge impact on an otherwise plain wall
  • you can keep adding things you love as you find them

photo collage eclectic dining room
via houzz

However, gallery style walls can be harder to arrange because you have to keep in mind all kinds art principles including balance, proportion and scale, just to name a few.  I would compare it to that "rolled-out-of-bed-but-I-still-look-fabulous" look that celebrities do so well.  It seems so easy but actually took a lot of thought and planning (probably on the part of their stylist).

frames eclectic bedroom
via houzz
pictures
via houzz
Living room with blue walls and pictures/posters eclectic living room
via houzz

Possibilities are endless when it comes to arranging a gallery style wall.  Tomorrow I will show you my attempt at creating one in my dining room.  I'll break it all down and show you my logic behind why I did what I did.  It should be interesting.

P.S.~ It's election day, so GO VOTE!  If not you're a loser.

11.01.2010

Motivate Me

Back in August I started a Couch to 5k program to train for a 5k race that was 2 weeks ago.  I was getting up at 5:15 am three days a week to go running with a group of people.  To my amazement, I enjoy running but since the race I have been a total of twice.  I blame motivation.  When I was running with a group I had other people to be accountable to and if I didn't show up they always asked why.

To solve this problem I have decided to become accountable to my readers.  My goal is to keep running three days a week.  I will post my distance and time at the bottom of my post for each day.  If I miss a day I give you permission to make me feel bad about it and tease me relentlessly.  If anyone would like to run "with me" just post your distance/time to my post for the same day.  I can be like Forrest Gump and have a following of runners.


So what keeps you motivated?  What goals are you working towards?

Today's 5k Time - 33:46